Bad backs: Are you happy with your treatment?
Harvard researchers develop a tool to improve decision-making.
Treatment for a herniated disc—the rupture of one of the cushions between the bones of your spine—can range from physical therapy to pain-relieving injections to surgery. But when you and your physician decide on a treatment plan, are you well informed about its possible effect on your quality of life down the road? "It's a big problem if patients don't know what the disease is and what their options are. Research shows that if we did a better job of informing and engaging patients, there would likely be fewer major surgeries," says Dr. Karen Sepucha, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.